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plasmicplexus

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  1. I initially posted this as a comment on YT, but thought it'd get better reception here. I personally think one of the pinnacles of modern GUI design, is the ability to use the Alt key to trigger any form element (buttons, checkboxes, radio options, focus textboxes/dropdowns, etc). That way, you can use a mouse, and see everything graphically, which is better when you're opening a menu/form for the first time, but you can also learn keybinds for faster navigation. As you repeat certain tasks more and more frequently, it should be expected that you learn keybinds for them. Alt-keys are possibly better in my opinion than Ctrl keys, since they're always visible in the GUI (the little underline). There's no need to read any documentation, or pull up a settings/binds menu to learn them. Alt is also fairly unused, so reserving it for GUI navigation within each program is entirely feasible. That said, I generally disagree with the idea of Win32-style forms in general. Win32 forms are great, neatly organised, and very powerful when the Alt key is used, but I feel we could do better again. I personally have been using a tiling window manager for 3 years now under Linux (i3, to be specific), and am very happy with my current setup. So happy in fact, I could use it for 20 more years, before tiring of it functionally, and aesthetically. I wanted to talk about this after the Alt key, because tiling WMs seem somewhat controversial. I'll list the drawbacks first, since I believe there are less of them; 1) most tiling WM environments are very keyboard heavy. You might argue this is a problem with travel from the mouse, but you'll usually find yourself using the keyboard to navigate within programs themselves. So, the travel time becomes from the keyboard to the mouse, rather than the mouse to the keyboard. The only real issue with a keyboard-centric UI, is that it basically depends on two hands. I won't discuss disabilities, since there are many that can radically alter computer use in general, but requiring two hands makes things like eating, or laying back from a desk difficult. On a laptop, it's generally better. Two hands on the palmrest keeps the laptop steady in your lap, versus only having a finger on the trackpad. It also helps with precision on laptops, since keys for the keybinds are very easy to locate by feel, versus delicately moving a finger on a trackpad/trackpoint. 2) The other issue with tiling WMs, is that learning keybinds is basically a requirement. It's not too steep of a curve, but the fact that it's a requirement will be an issue for a lot of people. As for the benefits, most of what Ross talked about in his video is covered already by tiling WMs. >The GUI should look nice enough that you never get sick of it Agreed. A major advantage of WM environments, compared to desktop environments, is that your desktop is comprised of lots of small, easy to understand components, similiar in some ways to LiteStep. Making aesthetic changes is usually trivial, which is good, since each user has the power to shape the aesthetics to their individual, and subjective taste. >There's no perfect GUI for everyone however. Agreed, but some are significantly better than others. IMO, tiling WMs are possibly the cloesest we have to perfection, followed by Alt-keyed Win32-style forms. >There are lots of things that are ideal for the majority of users Agreed. This one is difficult in the context of tiling WMs, since default configs are usually barebones. That being said, it's easy to grab somebody's elses config from GitHub to use as a base for your own. There's also plenty of communities and websites where people post their configs along with screenshots. Finding a base default to work from shouldn't be hard. >The GUI should get out of the way when you don't need it Absolutely. This is where keyboard-centric interfaces thrive, since you don't need a single pixel of screen real-estate for clickable UI elements. >The GUI should be as efficient as possible if you know what you're doing Again, a strength of keyboard-centric interfaces. The issue here is for when you *don't* know what you're doing. In this case, you'd need to fall back to graphical elements. WMs like Awesome and Qtile are good in this regard, as they allow graphical menus, buttons, etc to be incorporated alongside the keyboard interface. The Alt-key solution also works here, by having everything graphical, but allowing a keyboard to be used for greater speed and precision. Once solution I've seen people use on tiling WMs specifically, is to write a personal list of keybinds, bind it to a help key, and have it open as a PDF or text file for quick reference during initial learning. Not ideal, but just another solution. >The GUI should activate when you want it, and NOT when you don't >It shouldn't be easy to do something you don't want to by accident Tiling WMs largely solve this problem. i3 in particular, has a concept of the "mod" key. The mod key can be anything, but most people map it to the super (Windows) key. Since no other program uses the Super key, it's free for use as a modifier, to begin any "system-related" shortcut. Since triggering system shortcuts requires the mod key to be held, doing so accidently is rather difficult. >If you're not typing, switching between the mouse and keyboard should be kept to a minimum. Agreed, however, as I said above, using a keyboard-centric WM, generally means you also start using keybinds to drive individual programs. Travel time becomes from keyboard to mouse, rather than mouse to keyboard. >You need multiple mouse buttons for maximum efficiency Perhaps, if you wanted mouse gestures. The middle click button is still woefully under-used, so if you really prefered a mouse over a keyboard, I'd start by adding functions to middle-click, before adding buttons. >Having text against a low contrast background is a terrible idea, same goes for solid white spaces mixed with really dark colors Agreed, although this is just an aesthetic choice, particular to most of the premade themes available. Tiling WMs are very easy to customise aesthetically, so you can pick out whatever palette you like. Well, that was a wall of text. Hopefully Ross gets a chance to read it :)
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